While the life sciences and health technology sector – LSHT for short – has seen an average of about 5% growth per year over the past decade, 2020 was a critical year for medical innovations as the world faced the COVID-19 pandemic. This crucial industry encompasses everything from prosthetics to pills, as well as therapeutics, diagnostic tools and methods, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and any other product designed to treat a disease or aid in the treatment of patients.
Now more than ever, the importance of R&D in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors is collectively understood, and topics like vaccine manufacturing capacity and the rapid development of new therapeutic treatments and technologies like ventilators has come to the forefront of our discussions as a society.
Of course, with the increased need for PPE, new medical technologies, treatments, vaccines and more, the government as well as private sponsors have dedicated increased funds to projects related to the LSHT sector. In 2020 and 2021, Innovative Solutions Canada launched innovation challenges to develop new, compostable surgical masks and more inclusive respirators, for example.
Other program sponsors have always been focused on funding life sciences and health technology innovations and helping ground-breaking Canadian LSHT companies grow. The rest of this article will highlight some key sponsors offering funding programs, support services, and accelerators specifically meant for pharmaceutical, health technology, and life sciences companies across Canada and in Quebec.
Support Organizations and Research Consortia
Montreal InVivo is a non-profit that represents the LSHT cluster of Greater Montréal and is a credible source of information and reference for the LSHT sector. It aims to create a business environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness of the public and private organizations in the LSHT sector. Their recent partnership with Fundica allows SMEs to search for private and public funding through a powerful search tool with smart filters and advanced customization.
The CDQM is a biopharmaceutical research consortium that funds the development of innovative tools and technologies to accelerate the discovery and development of safer and more effective drugs. Their business model is based on a collaborative approach between world-class pharmaceutical corporations, several Canadian biotech companies, the best scientists from both the public and private sectors, as well as the Canadian and Quebec governments. The CQDM has raised over $90M and has established 11 funding programs, launched 49 calls for proposals and more than 800 evaluated projects, for a total of over $850 M in funding applications.
The Quantum Leap program offered by the CDQM is a funding program for drug discovery research and strongly encourages public-private partnerships between Canadian universities and SMEs to achieve innovative translational biopharmaceutical research projects. The deadline to participate in the current selection round is August 12th, 2021.
MEDTEQ is a focus point for Canada’s medical technology sector in terms of research, innovation and the integration of leading-edge solutions in the delivery of health care. Through collaborative industry-led projects, MEDTEQ’s mission is to accelerate innovation and to position products and services developed by the Canadian medical technology industry on a global scale.
MEDTEQ’s Impact and Partenar- IA program is aimed at all public research centers and Quebec businesses (primarily SMEs and startups) wishing to carry out an innovation project for the development and commercialization or adoption of artificial intelligence technologies. The deadline for their 17th Call for Project is July 15th, 2021, with eligible projects required to be carried out by public research centers in collaboration with at least two companies.
Startup Support & Accelerators
Because the pharmaceutical and medical industries are constantly evolving, various accelerator programs can help LSHT startups grow. Montreal Universities Concordia and McGill also offer their own accelerator programs for startups in the LSHT sector.
adMare Bioinnovations is a Canadian global life sciences venture that works with academic researchers and companies to advance research, scale existing companies and technology, and provide professionals in the field with the skills they need to succeed.
They offer an acceleration program supported by the Canadian and Quebec government to scale up promising young life sciences companies. Companies will receive capital up to $150,000 and other resources such as coaching/mentoring and discounts on office or lab spaces.
Concordia’s District 3 focuses on advancing an open, collaborative ecosystem that enables entrepreneurs to thrive and succeed while taking no equity from the companies they work with. Their Biohub 8-week accelerator offers weekly workshops, networking events with industry professionals, and potential access to their state-of-the-art wet lab.
McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship
In the Spring of 2021, McGill’s Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship opened applications for a Health Sciences Lean Startup Program to accelerate health-related innovation through the development of entrepreneurship. The 8-week program includes weekly workshops and exposure to industry experts and business frameworks. The deadline to apply is September 26th, 2021, with the program activities taking place from October 19 and December 7th of the same year.
In a recent press release, high-tech business incubator provider Quantino announced a new partnership with Université Laval’s Québec Heart and Lung Institute Research Centre that will provide incubation services to emerging medical businesses.
Their goal is to develop made-in-Québec solutions for preventing, diagnosing, and treating cardiovascular and respiratory diseases (including COVID-19 and other emerging viruses) as well as type 2 diabetes and obesity. Quantino offers first-rate facilities, world-renowned experts and top-of-the-line technology to their incubatees to further accelerate their progression. Interested LSHT startups can apply to become an incubatee as of June 22nd 2021.
How R&D Partners can help
If you have any questions about the programs we mentioned above, do not hesitate to contact Dominik Klein at [email protected], or at 1-800-500-7733 ext. 103.